Originally from the Netherlands, Peter Vlaar has been BIM Manager at the Battersea Power Station Phase 3A project since July last year. When he found out about the role at Battersea, he knew this might be the perfect opportunity for him and he was immediately impressed by what he saw and heard.
Our structured approach to BIM, our willingness to use new technologies to drive improvements in the way we work, and our approach to inclusion and diversity proved all the incentive Peter needed to make the decision to join us. Here, he shares his experience.
“During my first interview, I was explained how the BIM strategy was being set up here. I had never seen the support that BIM has within Sir Robert McAlpine in any other company. That’s when I knew that I really wanted this job.”
Peter quickly felt at home and found the team more than willing to explore and innovate.
“It really feels like a family,” he says. “The project team is close knit and everyone is really open.
“I really feel that BIM has been implemented the right way on this project. Alison Cox (Project Director) and Nick Wright (Senior Works Manager) are really supportive of using new technologies, trying to make the way they work more efficient.”
So, what have been Peter’s highlights so far?
“I love running my own team. It is quite unique to have a BIM team on a project and I like the fact that we are such a diverse bunch. There are five of us and we are each a different nationality; the personality, skills and background of every team member is unique. And we all have our own specialism, which helps keep our team focused on doing the right thing.”
For Peter, communication is key. The team regularly gets together to discuss their work, which, in turn, helps ensure they are on the same page.
“I really try to encourage that, and, also, to keep everyone up to speed with what is happening on the project, so that we are not doing the same thing differently. Because each team member is working on different parts of the buildings, I want us to be coordinated in how we do and report things.”
This open and transparent approach also extends to their colleagues on the project. Each week, the team sets aside time to get out on site to meet with them and discuss any issues they might have.
Engagement is also key to overcoming the challenge of ensuring that all the contractors and trades are up to speed on BIM and delivering to the same high standards. This involves providing advice and training, but only if required.
“If the trade contractors are managing themselves with BIM and if they are doing it in the right way, I try to stay clear because I don’t need to be part of the process.”
For Peter, it is this integration with the supply chain that will underpin the evolution of BIM moving forward.
“It is a way of communicating through data and 3D models,” says Peter. “Traditionally you were communicating through drawings and reports. That is much more time consuming and it takes a lot more effort than a 3D model.
“They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a 3D model or a simulation is worth even more than that.”